Running out of 2018 and into 2019

When I was doing Parkrun this morning, I had a realisation that I could no longer say I started running last year, as it’s now almost two years since I went along to my first Parkrun (Colchester Castle #200, 14/01/2017). But rather than tell that story again (it’s here if you want it) I wanted to focus on what I’ve got coming up and why I’m doing it.

As I may have mentioned a few times here and on social media, I’m running the London Marathon in April both for the challenge of doing it and to raise money for Brain Research UK (you can donate by clicking here). I’m doing it in memory of my brother, who died from a brain tumour, and my mum who died last month from a stroke after suffering from dementia for several years. Brain conditions are horrible things. They take away the person you know and love piece by piece, changing them in endless ways while leaving reminders of the person they used to be floating on the surface. The brain is a fascinating thing, one of those things that makes us who we are both as individuals and as a species, and we still know so little about how it works, what causes it to fail and what that failure does to people. I’m supporting BRUK because they fund research into tumours, dementia, strokes and many other conditions, both helping us understand more about what makes us us, and hopefully saving others in the future the things my family has had to go through.

And to do my bit to help with that research, I need to keep training and pushing myself for the next few months to get ready for doing 26.2 miles around London on April 28th. I have managed to do a 14 mile run, along the seafront between Walton and Clacton on a grey day at the end of November. It was a long way from being the fastest run I’ve ever done, but was definitely the furthest, and perhaps the one that convinced me I just might be able to make it through a marathon, having been able to cover over half of one in conditions that were surely worse than anything London can be at the end of April. (The point where I turned around at Clacton and was running into the wind is very obvious on the speed data…)

So, if you see me out running in the next few months then do please urge me on as every mile I can do in training will help when the day comes. Oh, and also please don’t try to laugh too much if you see me in a yoga or pilates class — one thing I’ve learned from my training is that I have really poor flexibility and improving that is a good way to help my running too.

And if you really want to spur me on, then make sure you donate — I can’t promise that your donations will make me any quicker, but they will give me more reasons to get on with the training!

Written by

Many, many things. PhD student at QMUL. Councillor. Ran the 2019 London Marathon for Brain Research UK. @nickjbarlow on Twitter.

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